Pass the drive test

Chris Rut­ter ex­plains all you need to know in or­der to choose the right drive mode

NPhoto - - Contents -

Dis­cover the drive modes avail­able on your Nikon, and when to use each one

There are three stan­dard drive modes avail­able on most Nikon cam­eras: sin­gle, con­tin­u­ous and self-timer. They con­trol how many shots the cam­era will take when you press the shut­ter re­lease but­ton. (See be­low for more on each of th­ese.)

Although you can, in the­ory, shoot at very high speed in con­tin­u­ous mode, a cou­ple of things can af­fect the frame rate of your cam­era. The first is the shut­ter speed: to achieve the max­i­mum frame rate you will need to use a fast shut­ter speed, such as 1/250 sec or faster. At slower shut­ter speeds the frame rate will be re­duced. The sec­ond lim­i­ta­tion comes when you are shoot­ing at the high­est res­o­lu­tion and qual­ity set­tings, as the num­ber of shots that you can shoot in a se­quence may be limited by the abil­ity of the cam­era to process the images and write the data to your mem­ory card. This lim­i­ta­tion is even more no­tice­able if you shoot in RAW.

On many Nikons you can choose be­tween a high-speed con­tin­u­ous (C-H), which shoots at the max­i­mum frame rate avail­able, and a lower frame rate (C-L) op­tion. This is use­ful if you need the con­ve­nience of the con­tin­u­ous drive mode, but don’t need to use the fastest frame rates.

Other drive mode op­tions

Along with the three main drive mode set­tings, some Nikons have re­mote, quiet and mir­ror lock-up op­tions.

If there is a ded­i­cated wire­less re­mote re­lease avail­able for your cam­era you will need to se­lect re­mote to al­low you to fire the cam­era with it.

The ac­tion of the mir­ror mov­ing and the shut­ter open­ing and clos­ing means that tak­ing pic­tures can be fairly noisy, and no­tice­able if you are tak­ing shots in a quiet en­vi­ron­ment, or of a sub­ject such as an an­i­mal that could be dis­turbed by the noise. Many re­cent Nikons have a quiet mode to re­duce this noise. While it can make the cam­era qui­eter, it does mean that there is a slight de­lay be­tween shots.

Mir­ror lock-up is only avail­able on more ex­pen­sive mod­els, and is a way of re­duc­ing so-called ‘mir­ror slap’ when shoot­ing long ex­po­sures on a tri­pod. You press the re­lease but­ton once to lift the mir­ror, and again to take your shot.

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